Vv Magazine’s Neelam Champaneri rounds up the city’s best spots to chow down and drink up while indulging your inner child with games.
Let’s face it; we all get a bit too competitive when it comes to Monopoly. It’s a race to riches that turns us into greedy capitalists. Then again, who wouldn’t mind collecting a few millions with the roll of a dice and the pass of a “GO”? And there’s always something so nostalgic about classic games such as Snakes and Ladders, or even Guess Who? Now, why not enjoy some of these games (along with some foosball or bocce ball) with a large entourage at a classy board games bar or café right here in the city. With a massive selection of games, these places are sure to keep your brains picked and stomachs (and livers) satisfied.
Here’s Vv Magazine‘s list of Toronto’s 10 best games bars and cafes.
Having just opened in July, The Addisons Residence is located on Wellington Street, and while technically not a games bar, it features them prominently. Set up to look like the home of a fictional family known as the Addisons, this new bar offers a rec room, where you’ll find yourself revisiting your childhood after playing a round of shuffleboard, bubble hockey, or even foosball.
Castle Board Game Café
Castle Board Game Cafe can be found in Chinatown, just south of College on Spadina, and boasts quite an expansive public collection of games. Enjoy some grilled cheese sandwiches while you try to concentrate on your next move in Civilization, or maybe a slice of wildberry cheesecake to get your sweet tooth going while playing a round of Candy Land. There’s a $2.50/hour charge per person to cover maintenance fees.
Snakes and Lattes
Located in Koreatown on Bloor Street, Snakes and Lattes made its debut in 2010 as Toronto’s first board game café. Their collection consists of over 3,000 board and card games, making it North America’s largest public game library. With an entrance fee of $5, you’re welcome (on a first come, first serve basis, that is) to sit down and enjoy some (non-alcoholic) drinks while plotting how to defeat your friends at a game of Risk or Clue. Oh, each table holds up to six people, so you have to choose your crewmembers wisely.
Snakes and Lagers
Sister to Snakes and Lattes, this two-storey games bar is located on College Street West and Bathurst. This place offers the same collection of games as Lattes, but a completely different menu—and of course, booze. With a variety of craft beers on tap, as well as cocktails and a selection of scotch and whisky, who wouldn’t be down to play a drunk game of Life?
Roll Play Café
Roll Play Café opened its doors in September 2013, and can be found above the BMV Bookstore located at Yonge and Edward. This café allows reservations, and the cover fee is $5. But with these perks comes a twist: No loitering is allowed in the café, and you must order something off the menu in order to stay seated.
Bampot Bohemian House of Tea & Board Games
Tea, vegetarian/vegan foods, and board games—what more do you need? Bampot is located at Harbord and Bathurst, and is home to an insane variety of loose leaf teas. But besides that, you can find yourself indulging in some of their deliciously original snacks (they serve poutine SOUP) while playing a few rounds of their select games with your friends. Bampot also offers shisha, but only after 6pm on weekdays, and all day on the weekend. You must be 19+ to smoke, let alone be allowed to enter during these hours.
With over 400 games, this café claims to be the first board game café in Markham, and can be found on Cathedral High Street. Chit-Chat-Play offers a large variety of games, along with a traditional café menu of cakes, coffees, and teas. For those looking for an even sweeter time, this café offers homemade gelato with ingredients straight from Italy, as well as Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes. Deelish.
Track & Field Bar
Toronto’s first ever lawn games bar opened this past April and is located in Little Italy, on College. This underground bar is dimly lit but definitely cozy, and lets you enjoy a nice round of bocce ball or shuffleboard year-round. You’ll be on your feet for most of the night, but if you prefer a seated game, try out their crokinole boards.
SPiN, an internationally franchised ping pong bar originating from New York, opened its underground Toronto location on King Street West back in 2011. With two full-sized bars and 12 ping pong tables, anyone is welcome for a competitive game of ping pong, or just to sip and socialize. We suggest you make a reservation as the tables can fill up fast. If you come to play before 5PM, there’s an hourly rate of $22.12/person; if it’s after 5PM, it’s $35.40. Keep in mind that unless you reserve a table ($62/hour), there’s no guarantee that a spot will be available.
For the Win Café
A brand new board game café located on Yonge Street, For the Win Café offers over 500 different board games and an appetizing menu that includes Nutella hot chocolate and bubble tea. Enjoy unlimited gaming Sunday to Friday with a cover fee of $5, or $2.50 for your first hour. On Saturdays, it’s $2.50/hour. If you’re a board game aficionado, you also have the option of going VIP which will let you reserve a private gaming room.
Did we miss any of Toronto’s best game bars and cafes? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.